Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thoughts on Free Agency

What was supposed to be a relatively quiet Free Agency year for the Riders has been anything but. It's been a roller coaster ride of Duron-type highs and whatever the opposite of Duron-type highs would be (Alouettes in the standings-type lows?  My interest in the Johnny Manziel drama-type low?).

Here's a play by play of commentary on free agency
- Signed Dan Clark: alright decent start, not the greatest but we need OL depth
- Signed Spencer Moore: Great! Solid FB and special teams player
- Cut Dennis and Love: What the ?
- Signed Evans: Hell Yeah!!!!!! Love it! Back on board.
- Signed Travis Bond: Makes sense. All headed in the right direction
- Signed Jerome Messam: Umm wait.. I'm confused. We seem to have taken a wrong turn
- Cut Muamba: What the hell is going on? We're going off the rails on a crazy train (Ay, Ay, Ay)

What started our so great is suddenly heading in a concerning direction.

I was surprised to see Dennis go but as soon as we signed Evans I got it and was fully on board. We dumped an American starter to make room for a stud Canadian DT. As a I said on Twitter we essentially traded Dennis for Evans and you make that trade any day. The whole Regina connection is certainly a feel good story, as is the part about finally righting the wrong of Taman stupidly not protecting him back in the expansion draft but what I care about is getting a 27 year old Cdn DT with 18 sacks in the past three season. We needed an impact guy in the middle and another Cdn starter and Evans checks both those boxes. We now have a line with Hughes/Evans/James/Jefferson. That is an intimidating rush. This was a hugely unexpected but awesome move. Yes it leaves a whole at LT but we have Bond and are working on Bruce Campbell so we should be okay there.

As for the whole Messam/Muamba thing... I will reserve full judgement until all the pieces fall into place as there may be other moves coming that are part of a larger plan that make everything make sense but for now I do not like it. Messam will be 33 this season and his yards per carry have decreased steadily over the past 3 seasons. He's still a force but is clearly on the downside of his career. We have 3 RBs (albeit imports) and no pressing need there so I really can't understand the desire to spend $120k on Messam. Seems like a poor investment. I don't think he can be a fulltime back for a full season anymore so at best you have a rotational RB (say 60/40 split) who you hope to have healthy for the stretch run. So I did not like the Messam deal from the start.

When the other shoe dropped and we cut Henoc Muamba for salary reasons, I was completely lost. Did we use up all our logic in the Evans deal? Look it get it, in a salary cap $200k is a lot to pay for a non-QB. But Muamba was not only a starting Cdn but a STUD  middle linebacker. Those don't grow on trees. There are many players I would have cut before Muamba is salary savings were needed. For example, cutting Chad Owens and Jerome Messam would completely pay for Muamba. Now given the choice between Muamba and Messam/Owens which one do you think would have a bigger impact on our performance in 2018? I really don't like this.

There is still a chance this could all work out. Guys like Bear Woods and Taylor Reed are still available and if we get a decent American LB then this could look not as awful. I just hope Plan A wasn't Sam Hurl because that is a massive downgrade to our defense. Still lots of time to build a defense but after taking a step forward with Evans I see this as a big step back.

Hopefully there is more to come to calm my worry.

Day 2 Free Agency Summary

Extended: n/a
Added: OL Travis Bond, LB Sam Hurl
Lost: LB Henoc Muamba

Extended: LB Solomon Elimimian
Added: WR Cory Watson
Lost: n/a

Extended: RB John White, LB Doug Parrish, WR Jamil Smith
Added: n/a
Lost: WR Cory Watson, K Swayze Waters, DB Andrew Lue

Extended: n/a
Added: WR Mitchell Baines
Lost: WR Julian Feoli-Gudino, OL Travis Bond, LB Sam Hurl, DB TJ Heath, DL Jamal Westerman

Extended: n/a
Added: DB TJ Heath, K Swayze Waters
Lost: DB Rico Murray

Extended: LB Tanner Doll
Added: WR Julian Feoli-Gudino, DB Rico Murray
Lost: WR Jake Harty

Extended: QB Drew Willy
Added: WR Jake Harty, DL Jamal Westerman
Lost: n/a



Anonymous said...

Cutting Muamba - dumb, dumb, dumb. Yeah, the Messam signing is very puzzling. Still over 1,000 yards but all his other stats were down. If we kept LaFrance I could kind of see it but I didn't like LaFrance & he was overpaid. I thought we were all in on an import backfield. I've been saying it for 3 years. To make things go on the DL you need a stud DT. Great signing in Evans. Bond replacing Dennis is a break even. Geez, thought we'd seen the last of Hurl when he went to Wpg. Plain & simple, not a starter. Gotta go import at MLB as a Hurl/Francis duo doesn't bode well. So maybe Messam needed for ratio reasons - only way I can see it. We're not yet at point of playing 4 Cdns on OL. Campbell has to be signed to protect biggest investment - Collaros. Where does Bladek fit in if Clark is back at ctr, not LaBatte? He has to play guard but isn't going to supplant LaBatte or Bond. Can't see him at tackle. If Campbell is gone, do we go with St. John at LT? Can't see anything good coming of that. Campbell will be sought after by a # of teams. Esks lost Figueroa & will give him a look in the West. I think he'd rather be out East as he retired rather than go West initially. Anyway, good day/bad day for the Riders. What happened to the "I'm happy with my team so will tweek here & there" pronouncements of Jones prior to free agency. Oh yes, same story as last year & that didn't play to form either.

Rider Prophet said...

I think OL will be bond-labatte-clark-dyakowksi-coleman. I would love it if bladek could beat out clark and St John beat out Dyakowksi but I don't see it. I think St John only plays tackle in a injury situation.